Reports: Dr Hanan Ashrawi resigns from PLO committee

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee Member [Wikipedia]
Member of PLO’s Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi, 28 December 2018

Dr Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) Executive Committee, has reportedly resigned.

She submitted her resignation to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas sometime in “the past few days”, reports in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Al-Quds Al-Arabi reveal. Abbas has yet to respond.

According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, her resignation is due to the PA resuming security coordination and other diplomatic relations with Israel after suspending the policy in May in protest of Tel Aviv’s plans to annex some 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank including the Jordan Valley.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Ashrawi “was angry with how the issue was handled.”

Severing security and civil coordination with Israel earlier this year, Palestine said plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank would make a two-state solution impossible.

However, it resumed coordination activities with Israel last month, after it said the United States had assured it that Israel would respect existing agreements with the Palestinians.

READ: Abbas facilitates Israel’s ‘no preconditions’ condition for negotiations

Appointed to the PLO’s executive committee in 2007, 74-year-old Ashrawi is the PA’s highest-ranking female politician.

In 1994, she founded the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights.

She has recently contracted coronavirus, but this is not believed to be linked to her resignation.

The sources added: “There are those who will promote that Ashrawi is no longer able to fulfill her duties because of her age and infection from two months ago, but this is not true.”

Ashrawi is still yet to make an official statement on the matter.

(Source / 08.12.2020)

New Israeli ambassador in Britain describes Nakba as ‘Arab lie’

Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely in the West Bank on 3 November 2015 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images]
Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely in the West Bank on 3 November 2015

Israel’s new Ambassador to the United Kingdom, 42-year-old Tzipi Hotovely has used her first speech during an event organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews to describe the Nakba as “a very strong and very popular Arab lie.” She added that the displacement  of Palestinians since 1948, when Israel was created in their land, is “a made up story”.

The far-right politician has a track record of making remarks about the Palestinians which are perceived to be racist and inflammatory. Her latest comments can be viewed on Twitter in a short video clip of the recent online meeting. It was uploaded by British Jews Against Occupation.

The organisation condemned the Board of Deputies’ decision to host Hotovely. “We will never defeat racism while our communal organisations are giving it a platform,” it told the Board. “Hotovely’s views cannot be allowed to be normalised in our community with invites to celebratory events.”

Hotovely’s remarks have sparked outrage, not only because of their racism but also because an organisation recognised by the government as representative of mainstream Jewish thought in Britain provided a platform for such views.

British Jews Against Occupation has circulated a petition urging Jews in Britain to write to the Foreign Office to reject her accreditation. “Hotovely has demonstrated a complete disregard for international law throughout her political career, and has an appalling record of racist and inflammatory behaviour,” it explains. “This includes inviting the far-right organisation Lehava to speak in the Knesset, supporting campaigns to prevent relationships between Jews and Arabs, and referring to Israeli human rights activists as ‘war criminals'” and ‘an enemy within’.”

READ: It is time to make it official and brand Israel as an apartheid state

Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner also criticised Hotovely’s record. “Her political views on Palestinians, annexation and religious pluralism clash with our core values,” she told the Guardian. Labour peer Lord Jeremy Beecham told the Jewish Chronicle that, “The appointment of an ultra-right wing ambassador, while typical of the present government of Israel, will do nothing to win friends in the UK – or indeed any other reasonable country.”

In June, when Hotovely’s appointment was first announced, it looked as though her views were too extreme even for the Board of Deputies. According to the Jewish Chronicle, she launched an outspoken attack on the Board over its support for a Palestinian state in its 2019 Jewish Manifesto. She accused the 260-year-old body of failing to consult “Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our ambassador, [or] any other political authority” ahead of the manifesto’s release.

Despite the apparent disagreement, the Board has tended to support the views of the Israeli far-right in opposition to internationally accepted positions. A recent example was to put pressure on the British government to change the status of Jerusalem.

The Nakba describes the forced expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians by Zionist paramilitary groups from 1947 onwards. Around 600 Palestinian villages have since been wiped off the map in order to create a Jewish majority in Israel. Israeli historians have called this process “ethnic cleansing”. Despite volumes of evidence, Nakba denial has been mainstreamed by far-right Zionist groups.

READ: Racism in Israel isn’t going away, it’s getting worse

(Source / 08.12.2020)

EU delegation visits Gaza to assess coronavirus treatment

A EU delegation arrived in the besieged Gaza Strip to assess the health situation in the Palestinian territory amid a coronavirus outbreak

Delegation from the EU in Gaza to assess the health situation amid the coronavirus outbreak on 8 December 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Delegation from the EU in Gaza to assess the health situation amid the coronavirus outbreak on 8 December 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Delegation from the EU in Gaza to assess the health situation amid the coronavirus outbreak on 8 December 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Delegation from the EU in Gaza to assess the health situation amid the coronavirus outbreak on 8 December 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Delegation from the EU in Gaza to assess the health situation amid the coronavirus outbreak on 8 December 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

A EU delegation arrived in the besieged Gaza Strip today to assess the health situation in the Palestinian territory amid a coronavirus outbreak.

The delegation visited the European Hospital in Gaza for treatment of COVID-19 patients. It will also visit EU-funded projects in Gaza and meet representatives of the territory’s civil society.

The EU said in a statement yesterday that the visit aims to show solidarity with the residents of Gaza and to review the health situation in the Palestinian enclave.

Gaza has been struggling to curb the coronavirus outbreak amid a shortage of medicines and medical supplies due to the 13-year Israeli blockade.

READ: Arab-Israeli medical team in Gaza to assist in Covid-19 response

Health authorities in Gaza have reported around 25,500 virus infections, including 149 deaths, since March.

Speaking at a press conference earlier today, representative of the European Union in the Palestinian territories, Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, said: “We have come here to learn about the problems of the Gaza Strip and provide support in the name of the European Union.”

“We offer our support to the Palestinian cause and we seek fully to achieve Palestinian independence, and Gaza is an integral part of Palestine.”

He said the EU was working with the WHO to ensure Palestinians obtain the coronavirus vaccine, adding that it is also vital that the work of UNRWA continues to be supported to the benefit of refugees.

(Source / 08.12.2020)

Occupied Palestine to enter lockdown as Gaza gets Covid-19 test kits from WHO

Coronavirus (Covid-19) testing centre in Gaza on 27 September 2020 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]
Coronavirus (Covid-19) testing centre in Gaza on 27 September 2020

Four West Bank cities in occupied Palestine will enter a week-long lockdown from Thursday to help curb the spread of Covid-19, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister announced yesterday.

“The governorates of Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem and Tulkarem will be completely closed from the evening of Thursday, 10 December for a period of seven days,” explained Mohammad Shtayyeh. All shops will be closed except for pharmacies and grocery stores and travel will be prohibited between all eleven West Bank cities.

The move comes after a weekend and evening curfew was imposed across the occupied West Bank in late November to fight a “worrying spread” of the virus.

Around 40,000 Palestinians are currently in quarantine, and 55 West Bank schools have already been closed following an increase in the number of coronavirus infections among students and teachers, added Shtayyeh.

According to Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila, 19 people have died of coronavirus in Palestine in the past 24 hours, with 1,595 new cases recorded in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. There are currently 76 coronavirus patients hospitalised and in a serious condition; 18 are on ventilators.

READ: Arab-Israeli medical team in Gaza to assist in Covid-19 response

Meanwhile, almost 20,000 coronavirus test kits have been sent to the Gaza Strip by the World Health Organisation (WHO) today. The health ministry called yesterday for urgent action “to provide the necessary equipment” to screen the population for Covid-19.

In the besieged territory, nearly 25,600 infections have been registered officially, with 150 deaths. The health authorities are warning that the medical sector in Gaza — where nearly 75 per cent of the two million Palestinian residents are refugees – is struggling to contain the pandemic. Supplies of essential drugs and medicines, as well as medical disposables, are dangerously low.

Coronavirus spreading in the Middle East - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]
Coronavirus spreading in the Middle East – Cartoon 

(Source / 08.12.2020)

Israeli Settlers Threaten and Attack Palestinian Landowners in Jerusalem

On Monday morning, a group of Israeli colonial settlers invaded privately-owned Palestinian land in the Silwan neighborhood and threatened the Palestinian landowners, pointing a gun in their faces.

The settlers arrived on the land with construction equipment, including a bulldozer, with the intent of razing the land to establish an illegal Israeli colony there.

When the Palestinian landowners arrived and confronted the colonizers, two of the colonizers pulled out guns. One of the colonizers waved his gun and pointed it directly at the faces of the Palestinians.

None of the colonizers were wearing facemasks – despite the rapidly growing number of COVID-19 cases in the area.

When the Israeli police arrived, they pushed the Palestinian landowners back, forcing them off of their land, and allowed the Israeli colonizers to occupy the space.

According to Khaled Abu Tayeh, a member of the Committee for the Defense of Silwan, the area in question is known as Wadi al-Rababa. This is an area that Israeli authorities have slated for a takeover, in order to illegally seize the land from the Palestinian owners, force them off, and construct Israeli settlements in their place.

All Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law.

(Source / 08.12.2020)

Israel To Confiscate Palestinian Lands Near Nablus

The Israeli occupation authorities have decided to snatch large areas of privately-owned Palestinian lands, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, to expand the illegal Yitzhar colony.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors Israel’s illegal colonialist activities in northern West Bank, said the soldiers handed orders to villagers from Burin, Madama and ‘Asira al-Qibliya, south of Nablus, informing them of the decision to grab their lands.

Daghlas added that the orders target lands are in al-Marj area, Jabal an-Nithir, Bab al-Marj, Khallet al-Marj and al-Aqda, in Madama, in addition to Hof Salman and al-Aqda in ‘Asira al-Qibliya.

The illegally confiscated lands would be used to expand Yitzhar by building more colonialist units, and for paving a new settler-only segregated roads.

Daghlas stated that Israel considers Yitzhar as a town, and is trying to change the status of large areas of Palestinian agricultural lands into residential to pave the way for uprooting them and using them for constructed new colonialist units.

All of Israel’s colonies in the occupied West Bank, including those in and around occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, in addition to various United Nations and Security Council resolutions.

Article 49, sixth paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Article 85(4)(a) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides that “the transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” is a grave breach of the Protocol.

Under Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.

(Source / 08.12.2020)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct 10 Palestinians, Injure A Woman, In West Bank

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, ten Palestinians from their homes, in several parts of the occupied West Bank, after the army stormed and ransacked many houses and buildings, wounding one woman, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported.

The PPS said the soldiers invaded Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and abducted two schoolchildren, identified as Majdi Mirshid Za’aqeeq, 16, and Ibrahim Rami Za’aqeeq, 16, before moving them to Etzion military base.

It added that the soldiers also Abdullah Samir Rajabi, from the southern area of Hebron city, in addition to Obeida Ghazi ‘Aadi.

It is worth mentioning that the soldiers injured Qamar, the wife of Obeida ‘Aadi, when they kicked the main door of their home, causing various cuts and bruises.

The family said that Qamar was trying to open the door for the soldiers to avoid them smashing and destroying it, but they went ahead a kicked their way into the property.

In Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers invaded and ransacked homes in Za’tara town, east of the city, and abducted Khaled Thweib, 55, in addition to summoning his son, Mos’ab, 30, for interrogation.

The soldiers also invaded homes in Harmala village, east of Bethlehem, before abducting Abdullah Awad ‘Obeyyat, 28, Ismael Khalil az-Zeer, 43, and Hamza Taleb Abu Dayya, 20.

In Nablus, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Nidal Atef Abu Rmeila, 46, from his home in the city, in addition to invading a home in Rafidia area and interrogating the family while violently searching their property.

(Source / 08.12.2020)

Soldiers Demolish A Barn, Confiscate Tent, Near Ramallah

Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, the al-Qaboun area, east of the al-al-Mughayyir   village, northeast of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, before demolishing a barn and confiscating a tent.

Ami Abu Alia, the head of al- Mughayyir Village Council, said the soldiers surrounded the area before invading it, confiscated a tent and demolished a barn, owned by Hasan Abu al-Kbash.

Slain Palestinian child – Ali Ayman Abu Alia, 13

He added that the village has been subject to escalating invasions and violations, including those carried out by fanatic illegal Israeli colonists, especially in Ein Samia and Marj ath-Thahab areas.

On December 4th, the soldiers shot and killed a child, identified as Ali Ayman Abu Alia, 14, while participating in a peaceful march in his village of al-Mughayyir.

On Tuesday at dawn, the soldiers abducted ten Palestinians from their homes, in several parts of the occupied West Bank, after the army stormed and ransacked many houses and buildings, wounding one woman.

(Source / 08.12.2020)

Tortured children prisoners share their stories about detention in Israeli prisons

Ramallah (QNN)- Lawyers from the Committee of Prisoners’ and Former Prisoners’ Affairs narrated testimonies of Palestinian children prisoners held in Megiddo jail, in which the children said that they were subjected to torture by Israeli forces during arrest and interrogation.

Muhammad Shaheen (17 years old), from Duheishah refugee camp in Bethlehem, said he was arrested from his house at dawn. An Israeli soldier attacked him and put him in a military Jeep. The soldiers did not stop eating and slapping Shaheen the whole way. He as taken to Petah Tikva interrogation center, where he was interrogated while being tied to a chair (shabeh) and beaten for long periods.

The lawyers said an Israeli interrogator hit the child’s head against the wall several times. The Israelis also turned on the air conditioning in Shaheen’s already cold and dirty cell for 16 days before he was sent to Megiddo jail.

In another testimony, Karam Ishbeitah (17 years old) was arrested from his house after breaking into it and breaking its door at dawn. He was taken outside his house before severely beating him then they put him inside a military Jeep and took him to Tzofim settlement, where they held him in a military camp’s courtyard for long hours before sending him to the Jalameh interrogation center. He was subjected to torture during interrogation, as he was held in a very dirty cell for 14 days. Ishbeitah contracted COVID-19 virus while inside the interrogation center and his health deteriorated, which pushed the Israelis to send him to the jail’s clinic then to Megiddo jail.

(Source / 08.12.2020)

Video| Goalkeeper of football club wounded in Israeli attack

Ramallah (QNN)- Local sources told QNN that the Palestinian young man, who was shot by Israeli soldiers at Qalandiya military checkpoint in northern Jerusalem today, was the goalkeeper of Al Am’ri football club, Ahmad Abu Al Laban.

Video footage of the Israeli attack shows Abu Al Laban lying on the ground. There is no information from Palestinian sources about his health condition so far.

Israeli media said Abu al Laban was sent to a hospital with medium to serious wounds. He was shot by Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint while he was heading to Faisal Al Huseini stadium to play in a football match his team and Jabal Al Mukbbir club.

Quds News Network 23 hours ago

#Israeli occupation forces detain a #Palestinian young man after shooting and injuring him at Qalandia checkpoint, north of occupied #Jerusalem, today.

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(Source / 08.12.2020)